Did you ever flush used contact lenses?
According to the Scientific American Magazine, 15 to 20% of contact lens wearers across the United States, flush them down the toilet or sink. That represented 2.75 million contact lenses in 2018. And that adds up to a whole lot of plastic!
This causes a few problems; because of how small and flexible they are, they go straight through filters and end up in the ocean. Moreover, while they go through water treatment facilities before reaching the sea, they absorb chemicals that allow them to rip into smaller pieces more easily, generating microplastics.
Microplastics are really bad news for fish and marine mammals since they tend to mistake it for food, and that can lead to many health complications such as starvation caused by a false sense of satiety.
And now you are probably thinking: if I can’t flush them, then I’ll just throw them in the trash, right? Well, actually, not so fast.
It’s also a problem to dispose of them in your garbage bin. First of all, contact lenses are conceived to last for a long time, so they can stay in a package for a while and remain robust to avoid ripping while you wear them. Because of this, they take a long time to disintegrate in landfills.
Worst: when they dry out, they break down into smaller pieces and become (here we go again!) microplastics. Now, these dried out pieces are even worst out of the water; not only do they get swallowed by animals, but tiny fragments can get so light that they end up in the air and can be inhaled. Scary, right?
That being said, there’s no need to panic! There is actually a really easy (and environmentally friendly) way to dispose of your contacts. They can simply be recycled! But not, mind you, any old how!
Being that small-scaled, they tend to be thrown out with the trash when reaching triage facilities instead of being recycled. Here’s how to avoid it: take a recyclable yogurt container, as an example, and save all of your used contacts in there. When it’s full, pop the lid on and put it in the recycling bin! As you can see, you can do much more than buying metal straws to help save the turtles!
Are you about to run out of contact lenses? Call us and we’ll have them shipped directly to your house!